The problem with Flash is that its coding was already tough with ActionScript, it is now doubly tough to code especially for designers using ActionScript 3. But that is the price you have to pay to to get a more secure, robust and much speedier Flash 10… or so says the Adobe Flash evangelists. The problem is that ActionScript 3 fully implements JavaScript 2/ECMAScript 4 [way ahead of Mozilla, originators of the JavaScript 2 spec]. But JavaScript 2 is full of tough coding constructs: a new strict syntax for all parts of the language including variable datatypes and declarations; OO-only coding including packages; a new Event model with listeners that is more robust but also more demanding in coding – and I haven’t even gotten to the threading, remoting, and data connection changes.

So it should be no surprise that Adobe is hard at work making Flex Builder => Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst much more approachable. These two programs are intended to make Flash and ActionScript 3 coding easier. We shall be taking a look at version 4 of those two software bundles in the future. But in the meantime there is another approach – no not Microsoft’s Silverlight. Silverlight coding is just as complicated as Flash. But most damning, Silverlight does not have the true cross platform reach and trim size of Flash.

No, the new approach is FHTML – which embeds CSS and Flash-aware commands and directives into an extended HTML.

The new Flash system is called Fluid HTML and is claimed to be designer friendly:

Unfortunately the beta of FHTML is closed so all one has to go on is what is disclosed on site:

This is important enough in the great RAIA race that we shall try to follow this in more detail in the coming months. One important point is that Flash files have been index-able by Google for a year and improvements have just been made to the scope and reach of that indexing.